Sony MDR-Z7M2 Headphone Thread
Nov 10, 2018 at 12:35 PM Post #271 of 2,453
Just got my Z7M2 from a local hifi show in which the local Sony distro gave nice discounts to all Sony portable audio products (including the Z7M2). Converted to USD, I got my unit for only ~USD600 (+/- USD10 depending on forex).

45810151201_0b57d0d776_c.jpg


Initial impressions:

1. These are arguably among the most comfortable headphones I've owned/worn. They just sit on my head with minimal movement (even if I move my head sideways/up-and-down). Given its closed-back design, though, they get somehow warm (but not as warm as, say, the Ether C).

2. They sound euphoric. And they sound just right. My major "issue" with the original Z7 was that the midrange sounded unnatural, which was somehow fixed by swapping the default cable with (expensive) Kimber cables.

3. I would classify its sound signature as slightly u-shaped. The bass appears forward (than behind) but does not in any way bleed into the midrange, which sound very luscious. There's enough treble extension without getting too hot/sibilant (even for test tracks known for excessive sibilance). Soundstage, however, is (obviously) quite narrow but height is more than decent.

4. Surprisingly, the Z7M2 can be properly driven by my WM1A; I am now listening to Queen's "Innuendo" album in DSD 2.8 Mhz and my volume is set at 97/120 which I find already quite loud.

5. This position might elicit some consternation but I feel the Z7M2 should have been the Z1R. I've already the Z1R with both the TA-ZH1ES and a prototype version of the DMP-Z1 and I can't fully appreciate the Z1R's given its hefty asking price (with the discount at the hifi show, it's selling for ~USD1,700). Yes, the Z1R has a more expansive soundstage and has better microdetails but the Z7M2 sounds relatively better (less hazy sounding, more direct, more visceral) especially when considering the Z7M2's price.

Hope my impressions help those who are on the fence! In my very honest opinion, the Z7M2, together with the 1AM2, is Sony's best pound-for-pound headphone among Sony's existing lineup.

Thank you for those very positive impressions. I've been debating for some time now, to buy the Z1R's to pair with my TA-ZH1ES, but can see the Z7M2's as a definite option, also saving considerable money !
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 12:49 PM Post #273 of 2,453
Thanks for the impressions, @jaibautista! How would you rate the bass level of the Z7M2 compared to the Z1R and 1AM2?

The Z7M2's bass sounds more upfront/visceral/immediate compared to the Z1R (the Z1R's bass sounds a bit far back, perhaps due to the vastly wider soundstage); the bass slam is more palpable. I consider the 1AM2 as the Z7M2's baby brother (I also have the 1AM2); if the Z7M2 feels as if you are surrounded by a wall of bass, the 1AM2 scales back the experience by two or three steps (but still carries that bass weight nevertheless).
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 12:50 PM Post #274 of 2,453
5. This position might elicit some consternation but I feel the Z7M2 should have been the Z1R. I've already the Z1R with both the TA-ZH1ES and a prototype version of the DMP-Z1 and I can't fully appreciate the Z1R's given its hefty asking price (with the discount at the hifi show, it's selling for ~USD1,700). Yes, the Z1R has a more expansive soundstage and has better microdetails but the Z7M2 sounds relatively better (less hazy sounding, more direct, more visceral) especially when considering the Z7M2's price.

Hope my impressions help those who are on the fence! In my very honest opinion, the Z7M2, together with the 1AM2, is Sony's best pound-for-pound headphone among Sony's existing lineup.

Thank you for your post, very interesting.
However near the high end, price is not so determining factor. For example the Philips X2 is less than 1/3 the price of the Z7M2, but i guess the Z7M2 is not 3 times better. Typically we get 10% more for double the price at best.
if price is no object, if they were offered, which one would you prefer? On the comfort and temperature warm are they worse than the Z1R?
For me personally, following your post, negatives of the Z7M2 would be narrow soundstage and temperature.
Thanks.
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 12:54 PM Post #275 of 2,453
Thank you for those very positive impressions. I've been debating for some time now, to buy the Z1R's to pair with my TA-ZH1ES, but can see the Z7M2's as a definite option, also saving considerable money !

I think if you can find a great deal for the Z1Rs (perhaps around USD1K-USD1.2K) then I think they might still be worth springing for. That said, I really am not a big fan of large soundstage headphones/IEMs as I prefer intimate sounding-audio gear; perhaps it's my exposure to the UM3X (and now the UM30 Pro Gen2) that has spoiled me with such listening experience. That said, I think the Z7M2s are a much better buy than the Z1Rs from a value standpoint.

Here's how I'll put context to my statement above: when using the DMP-Z1, I enjoyed listening to the Z7M2s more than the Z1R. :)
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 12:55 PM Post #276 of 2,453
@jaibautista I got the 1AM2s for OTG listening. After 200 hours of breaking them in, I was really impressed. The mids and highs are exceptional and the bass is really good... Nicely controlled with good texture. And, with a low OI DAP the soundstage is way better than I expected.
 
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Nov 10, 2018 at 1:00 PM Post #277 of 2,453
Thank you for your post, very interesting.
However near the high end, price is not so determining factor. For example the Philips X2 is less than 1/3 the price of the Z7M2, but i guess the Z7M2 is not 3 times better. Typically we get 10% more for double the price at best.
if price is no object, if they were offered, which one would you prefer? On the comfort and temperature warm are they worse than the Z1R?
For me personally, following your post, negatives of the Z7M2 would be narrow soundstage and temperature.
Thanks.

Thanks for the kind words!

I very much agree with your statement. Once you go past mid-fi, it just doesn't make any sense rationalizing a purchase purely on price considerations alone. I experienced this the first time when I bought my first expensive set of headphones, the Focal Elear (which I eventually sold to fund my entry into the world of active speakers).

This might surprise you, but if price is no object, I'd choose the Z7M2. Perhaps that's because of my listening preference (I like intimate-sounding gear). On the comfort side, I think they're more or less at par with the Z1R (the pads between both headphones look very similar, as well as the overall headphone design). Temperature, I think I will have to give the slight nod to the Z1R (since the outer cups allows some bit of air to pass through), while the Z7M2s only have vents underneath the headphone cups.

Hope the above helps!
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 1:03 PM Post #278 of 2,453
@jaibautista I got the 1AM2s for OTG listening. After 200 hours of breaking them in, I was really impressed. The mids and highs are exceptional and the bass is really good... Nicely controlled with good texture. And, with a low OI DAP the soundstage is way better than I expected.

I was also surprised with how the 1AM2s sounded better as I played more music through them. I really haven't tracked how many hours I've already listened to them but even outside the box I thought they sounded great already. If you couple its excellent sound with its ergonomics (it's very light on the head) and convenience (they easily fold and can be inserted in any bag without worries of breakage due to the generous use of strong plastics/metal), they're among the better headphones regardless of price point. I think Sony overdid themselves with the 1AM2; I just can't praise enough the value they bring, provided you have an affinity for Sony's house sound.
 
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Nov 10, 2018 at 1:06 PM Post #279 of 2,453
This might surprise you, but if price is no object, I'd choose the Z7M2. Perhaps that's because of my listening preference (I like intimate-sounding gear). On the comfort side, I think they're more or less at par with the Z1R (the pads between both headphones look very similar, as well as the overall headphone design). Temperature, I think I will have to give the slight nod to the Z1R (since the outer cups allows some bit of air to pass through), while the Z7M2s only have vents underneath the headphone cups.

Hope the above helps!

Yes it helped much, those were the answers I was looking for. Thank you very much. The Z7M2 just got in my consideration list.
 
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Nov 10, 2018 at 2:24 PM Post #281 of 2,453
Here's how I'll put context to my statement above: when using the DMP-Z1, I enjoyed listening to the Z7M2s more than the Z1R. :)

That's quite a statement !

@jaibautista I got the 1AM2s for OTG listening. After 200 hours of breaking them in, I was really impressed. The mids and highs are exceptional and the bass is really good... Nicely controlled with good texture. And, with a low OI DAP the soundstage is way better than I expected.

I own the 1AM2's. They are excellent value for money & i got them for £151 - grey / silver pair. I have no idea how many hours i've used so far.
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 3:22 PM Post #282 of 2,453
The Z7M2's bass sounds more upfront/visceral/immediate compared to the Z1R (the Z1R's bass sounds a bit far back, perhaps due to the vastly wider soundstage); the bass slam is more palpable. I consider the 1AM2 as the Z7M2's baby brother (I also have the 1AM2); if the Z7M2 feels as if you are surrounded by a wall of bass, the 1AM2 scales back the experience by two or three steps (but still carries that bass weight nevertheless).
I recall one of the negative aspects for many here with regards to the Z1R was that it had too much bass in it's frequency balance. My brief encounter with it gave me the impression that there was "bass" there for sure, but it was rendered rather indistinct by resonances. You give the impression that this new M2 tightens things up rather?
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 7:42 PM Post #284 of 2,453
Just got my Z7M2 from a local hifi show in which the local Sony distro gave nice discounts to all Sony portable audio products (including the Z7M2). Converted to USD, I got my unit for only ~USD600 (+/- USD10 depending on forex).

45810151201_0b57d0d776_c.jpg


Initial impressions:

1. These are arguably among the most comfortable headphones I've owned/worn. They just sit on my head with minimal movement (even if I move my head sideways/up-and-down). Given its closed-back design, though, they get somehow warm (but not as warm as, say, the Ether C).

2. They sound euphoric. And they sound just right. My major "issue" with the original Z7 was that the midrange sounded unnatural, which was somehow fixed by swapping the default cable with (expensive) Kimber cables.

3. I would classify its sound signature as slightly u-shaped. The bass appears forward (than behind) but does not in any way bleed into the midrange, which sound very luscious. There's enough treble extension without getting too hot/sibilant (even for test tracks known for excessive sibilance). Soundstage, however, is (obviously) quite narrow but height is more than decent.

4. Surprisingly, the Z7M2 can be properly driven by my WM1A; I am now listening to Queen's "Innuendo" album in DSD 2.8 Mhz and my volume is set at 97/120 which I find already quite loud.

5. This position might elicit some consternation but I feel the Z7M2 should have been the Z1R. I've already the Z1R with both the TA-ZH1ES and a prototype version of the DMP-Z1 and I can't fully appreciate the Z1R's given its hefty asking price (with the discount at the hifi show, it's selling for ~USD1,700). Yes, the Z1R has a more expansive soundstage and has better microdetails but the Z7M2 sounds relatively better (less hazy sounding, more direct, more visceral) especially when considering the Z7M2's price.

Hope my impressions help those who are on the fence! In my very honest opinion, the Z7M2, together with the 1AM2, is Sony's best pound-for-pound headphone among Sony's existing lineup.
Bravo, well done!
 
Nov 10, 2018 at 9:36 PM Post #285 of 2,453
I recall one of the negative aspects for many here with regards to the Z1R was that it had too much bass in it's frequency balance. My brief encounter with it gave me the impression that there was "bass" there for sure, but it was rendered rather indistinct by resonances. You give the impression that this new M2 tightens things up rather?

That's exactly it! :)

I had the same impression with the Z1R, no matter how many times I've tried it with various sources/amps: the listening experience seemed kinda detached, with bass neither here nor there. Don't get me wrong: the Z1R pumped bass in oodles but it didn't have that matter-of-fact visceral punch that left me underwhelmed. Perhaps it was Sony's jab at sounding "hifi"? That's why listening to the Z1R and the Z7M2 side by side gives you that impression that the Z7M2 has a much better job of tightening the bass rather nicely.
 

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